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No warning siren for Sparta twister; mayor has to use hand crank

(AP) The tornado siren failed to sound when a small tornado reached the area of Sparta, Missouri, because the small-town mayor couldn’t get to the hand-crank siren.

KY-TV reports that the tornado tracked into the Sparta area just after 1 a.m. Monday. Winds up to 90 mph damaged homes and downed trees, but no injuries were reported.

Mayor Jenny Davis says she is the only person tasked with the responsibility of using a hand crank to power the lone warning siren in the town of 1,900, southeast of Springfield. She tried to get to the crank but a fallen tree blocked her path.

Davis is warning residents to find more reliable sources for severe weather warnings since the cost of replacing the hand-crank siren is $40,000, money Sparta doesn’t have available.

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